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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I am new to this forum and new to fish keeping in general. This is my first fish and I've done a lot of research to try and provide the best care possible to my betta. However, recently I noticed his fins are starting to look ragged and torn. I keep him in a fishless cycled, blackwater aquarium with live plants. I first noticed the dorsal fin torn, which was very sudden and drastic damage. My first assumption was either fin biting or that it got caught on something sharp but there isn't anything sharp enough in the tank that could do damage that i know of. But a couple days later I noticed his anal and pectoral fins were starting to look frayed. The caudal fin also is beginning to look torn as well. Here are all the basic questions answered first:

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5.5 gallons
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What temperature is your tank? 76 to 78 degrees fahrenheit
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? yes, 1 mystery snail, 1 nerite snail

Food:

What food brand do you use? Fluval bug bites betta formula
Do you feed flakes or pellets? flakes
Freeze-dried? yes, freeze-dried bloodworms once every 2 or 3 weeks
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Once every day, a small pinch of flakes, and one to two freeze-dried bloodworms every two to three weeks

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 25% to 50%
What is the source of your water? Tap (double filtered)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum substrate
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? No other additives; Imagitarium

Water Parameters:

What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: between 5 and 10 ppm
pH: 7.2
Hardness (GH): unknown
Alkalinity (KH): unknown

Symptoms and Treatment:

When did you first notice the symptoms? roughly one week ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? fins look ragged/torn, some chunks missing
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? no change, still active and eager to eat, building bubble nests
Is your Betta still eating? yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? no
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? unsure (new fish)
How long have you owned your Betta? 3 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? no

I recognize that I am inexperienced and welcome any constructive criticism/advice. I just want to provide the best care possible for my fish. There are pictures attached below. Thanks in advance for any help. Also the dirty looking spots on the glass is algae.
Plant Flower Water Eye Leaf
Flower Plant Petal Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant
Water Liquid Plant Fluid Terrestrial plant
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good news: He doesn't have fin rot.

Do you have a "before" photo? And one of his entire tank. Looks to be damage or fin biting. Does he have any decor that might have snagged his fins?
The only thing I can think that could've snagged his fins is either the driftwood or the little ceramic decoration in the corner, but i ran my finger along the edge and it didn't feel sharp so idk. Should i remove the decoration maybe? Here's a before pic (ik it's not the best but it's the only one i could find) and a pic of the whole tank.
Plant Fish supply Organism Terrestrial plant Pet supply
Plant Water Plant community Vertebrate Light
 

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He's a beauty!

If you don't have Indian Almond Leaves or plain Rooibos Tea in his tank that would be good. Both have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

I'd test decor before deciding to remove. You can run a pair of nylons over those pieces. Sometimes we can't feel burrs that the hose or fine mesh can. If the material snags then so will his fins.

I will tell you I've had Betta with just live plants have splits in their fins. There's just no way to keep them perfect unless we remove everything. That's how sellers keep their Bettas' fins without damage. Most also don't have in-tank filters or heaters, either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He's a beauty!

If you don't have Indian Almond Leaves or plain Rooibos Tea in his tank that would be good. Both have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

I'd test decor before deciding to remove. You can run a pair of nylons over those pieces. Sometimes we can't feel burrs that the hose or fine mesh can. If the material snags then so will his fins.

I will tell you I've had Betta with just live plants have splits in their fins. There's just no way to keep them perfect unless we remove everything. That's how sellers keep their Bettas' fins without damage. Most also don't have in-tank filters or heaters, either.
Thanks!
 
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